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James Luetkehoelter

Nearly any SQL topic presented at times in a slightly eclectic manner.

An open letter to all IT Managers/CIOs: Invest in training, please

To whoever manages SQL Server DBAs\developers\BI specialists:

Yesterday afternoon at PASS I stuck my head into a presentation Kevin Kline was giving on end-to-end performance monitoring/tuning. He had reached the point where he was starting to talk about wait stats and asked the question "Who here is familiar with wait stats?" I saw one hand in a room of over 100 go up. That scares me.

If this were 2002, where everyone was still working on SQL 6.5, 7.0 or 2000, I could understand it. It isn't that wait stats didn't exist on those platforms, they weren't very cleanly exposed. But it's nearly 2011, SQL 2005 has been out for awhile now. The dynamic management views for viewing waitstats (dm_os_wait_stats,dm_os_waiting_tasks) should be well known. These are critical tools to really understanding where performance issues happen, in many cases (for queue or signal-type stats) the ONLY way to identify an issue.

Now I can't imagine that room I look into was full of DBAs running SQL 2000. That leads me to believe that the main issue is a lack of knowledge out there - a general lack of training.

Events like the PASS Summit are great for absorbing information, but yes, its expensive. It's hard to justify in a budget the cost of travel, hotel, not to mention the work not being done back at home base. But there are lots of way to encourage training amongst your staff, at relatively low cost. PASS has virtual chapters and events, there are one day events like SQL Saturday, plus a ton information all over the web. Local user groups are a great resources as well - there's probably one near your company.

Please, please, give your employees some dedicated time to do some sort of self-training, attending online seminars, anything. With the pace of change and the complexity of technology, it is no longer reasonable to expect employees to do this on their own time. Relying on consultants for "the heavy stuff", while some times necessary, will stagnate the skills of actual staff. Invest in your employees. Please. Let them learn. Encourage them to learn. Budget for them to learn. Require them to learn.

Published Wednesday, November 10, 2010 11:47 AM by James Luetkehoelter
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Scott Whigham said:

I've been in the training industry for over a decade now and my take on it is that it's the economy more than it is CTOs and managers not wanting to train. They want to train people but when they have 15% budget slashes for four years in a row, what can they do? It's the old issue: when you have to cut your budget by 15%, do you do so by cutting people or cutting extra costs (or both)?

I've also thought that training was a leading indicator of trouble in the IT sector (companies slash "luxuries" like training budgets long before they fire people) but it is a training indicator of a rebound. Example - once you have a bigger budget, you generally (1) hire more people, (2) upgrade hardware that you have been limping along on, (3) upgrade the software that you've been forced to use because you couldn't afford the latest and greatest, and then (4) now it's time to train people.

I could be wrong though but that's sort of how I think about it.

November 10, 2010 1:39 PM

jchang said:

A long while, 1995?, Windows NT was just beginning to take off and there were still few MCSEs. A couple of recent college grads did the MSCE, with the official training classes for a couple of the tests paid be by the company, and the rest on their own. They were immediately recruited by other firms with huge raises, which the company elected not to match. Thereafter, company budget for training was not forthcoming. Today, I am inclined to think that the MCxxx cert warrants some pay raise, but I think people need to be careful on how this is handled.

Other than that, employee career development is good. But if it is clear that heavy lifting is urgently required, go for the really exhorbitantly expensive consultant. After, just how valuable is the advice of a cheap consultant? No pain, no gain! My completely unbiased opinion.

November 19, 2010 12:36 PM

Iain said:

My experience in the UK, was that employers don't want to pay for training, in some cases, because they feel the staff will then leave for a higher paying job and therefore they (the employer) do not benefit from the training they paid for.

January 14, 2011 4:26 AM
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About James Luetkehoelter

I am passionate about what I do - which is DBA, development, IT and IT business consulting. If you don't know me, haven't met me or have never heard me speak, I'm a little on the eccentric side. One attendee recently described me as being "over the top". Yup, that about says it - because I only speak on topics that I'm passionate about.
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